“Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”
Stephen King

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

If you can't do a little, do a lot.
Tue 2014-01-07 23:16:25 (in context)
  • 3,258 words (if poetry, lines) long

So. Newly determined daily work schedule, as mentioned yesterday. It's more of a newly determined daily check-list to give me some focus.

Focus is necessary. It's the difference between a nebulous sort of intention to spend the day writing, whatever that means, and a tangible set of goals tacked up inside a working framework.

So the check-list goes something like this, and remember it's largely hypothetical still:

Task When For how long
Morning Pages Upon waking up Three notebok pages longhand
Freewriting After morning pages 25 minutes
Current Short Story After email break 1 hour? Maybe?
Current Novel After lunch break? 2 hours? I think?
Submit for publication Lastly As long as it takes to research a market or actually submit a thing; should submit a thing once a week
Content writing Afternoonish, if there's time Complete one blog post/article, or as much as fits in work time remaining
actually writing blog In the evening 'Til done

It's very much a work in progress. It's vague in places. This is partly owing to the tendency of household maintenance and surprise crises to make clock-scheduling beyond "Get up by 8:30" somewhat futile. This is also partly due to my never having successfully pursued a daily schedule with any regularity before, or at least not since college. How long should I devote to each project in a multi-project day? How long can I go on a single task before I'm ready to climb the walls? I really don't know. Not as a daily thing, anyway.

So this is the cautiously prescriptive version of my work-a-day schedule. A more descriptive version may be forthcoming, but don't wait up.

OK, so, right, maybe I overthink things. But that's how I function. Other people, certainly anyone who looks at the above and thinks Overthinking it much?, function differently. But I've discovered that unless I have a concrete and detailed idea of what I want to accomplish in a day, I don't actually accomplish much. I sort of float towards evening in a haze of good intentions, certain until about 3 PM that there's plenty of time left, equally certain afterwards that it's useless to start anything now that the productive part of the day is gone. Hence all the details.

Today, like I said, was full of distractions, and a perfect example of why the "When" column is so vague. To wit:

After morning pages (and I'm probably due another blog post about my relationship with morning pages), instead of going straight into freewriting, I went into the email and administrative household duties portion of the day early. This is because last night I burst up off the cusp of sleep with the certainty that at least two bills, possibly more, were late and I needed to deal with them now now now.

And then it was lunch time. No more work would happen until lunch had been consumed and about a half hour of Puzzle Pirates was played. (Those brigands don't just knock themselves out, you know.)

After freewriting, I went into full-bore clean-up mode. The first of our out-of-town guests is arriving tomorrow. The office/guest room has been in chaos since the Storm Of The Century. Said chaos consisted of boxes and other packaging materials, and also piles of things that needed to be out of the way pronto for the Winter Solstice party. Taming that chaos would be required if someone was supposed to sleep in here. And the results of taming the chaos was a car full of things to go to storage. So John and I drove stuff to storage. And bought groceries. And had dinner. And bought more groceries.

We got home, put groceries away, and promptly took note of mutual exhaustion. I confess, when John said, "Want to play with me?" and pulled up ibb and obb on the Playstation 3, it was much easier to yield to temptation than it was to pull myself away three levels later, citing my unfinished check-list.

I regarded the items on my check-list with despair. So. Tired.

Which brings me to my next new year's resolution: When I haven't time or energy to do a lot, I'll do at least a little.

"A little" in terms of my short story revision ("It's For You"): Sicced the three-hole-punch on the copies my friends recently critiqued. Filed copies in a three-ring-binder.

About that three-ring-binder: I discovered it in a pile of stuff in my old bedroom back in Metairie. It's a heavy-duty Mead number, woven canvas exterior the color of old blue jeans, blank weekly schedule and contact info list on the inside front cover, conversion tables inside the back. I'm pretty sure I once used it during high school Spanish. This is because, among the multicolored geometric doodles and surprisingly realistic stick-figure unicorns, there are rudimentary translations of Rush lyrics, lists of verbs in the infinitive, and phrases such as "diez minutos quedan" evincing a student watching the clock in desperation, probably because said student was desperately trying not to fall asleep. (Sometimes after lunch I just get sleepy. It's awful. It's involuntary. It's plagued me since at least seventh grade. It is not a referendum on the class, movie, opera, or party I'm attending, I promise!)

It delights me to repurpose this notebook, last seen in the hands of ambitious teenage me, to hold copies of a work actively in progress. It feels like fulfilling a promise. It's lovely.

So then.

"A little" in terms of working on my novel (the roller derby faeries-in-Wyoming YA supernatural romance/adventure): Installing Scrivener for Windows on my computer.

I won a copy of Storyist when I made a donation during National Novel Writing Month's big Writing Marathon + Donation Day. I was thrilled! Until I realized that Storyist is Mac only. But the NaNoWriMo rep tasked with getting a registration code in my hands decided to remedy the situation by offering me a free copy of Scrivener for Windows. So all right then.

The license for Scrivener is decidedly non-evil. I have never, that I know of, seen this sort of language in a license before:

Upon accepting the terms of this agreement, the Licensor grants you, the licensee, (“you”) and your family that live with you at the same address (“family members”) a non-exclusive, non- transferable limited licence....

This licence agreement enables you and your family members to use the Software on your own respective computers within your household but you may not copy or transfer the Software to any other computer or hard drive. Any members of your family not residing at your address for eight months of any year or more are not family members for the purposes of this licence agreement must purchase a separate Software licence. Additionally, you may make one copy of the Software for back- up purposes....

Maybe I haven't been around the block enough, maybe I'm just cynical, but I'm rather impressed by license that acknowledges that, hey, maybe the other people in your house want to use it too. Maybe you have more than one machine you want to install it on. Maybe that's how we use computers.

So. Tomorrow will be even more full of distractions, because we'll have a house-guest from about 9:30 AM on. I make no promises other than the resolutions already stated:

Distractions are no excuse;

If I can't do a lot, I'll do a little.